ibs with Confidence to Spare!
BBQ can be one of the most humbling activities ever, or so I am starting to learn. On one hand, you can master a portion of it. Maybe for you, it is a particular cook. But just because you have mastered that cook doesn't mean you have mastered the craft. Now I would not be so bold as to say I have mastered anything in regards to BBQ, yet it still humbles me.
In all reality, I have come a hell of a long way when it comes to BBQ. With that being said, I was celebrating that a bit. I was approaching cooks with more confidence than ever before. Hell, I was even cocky to the point of believing I could start to relax during any cook. This is where I was, happily drinking a beer when Mikey assigned spare ribs to me.
"Spare ribs, no problem...Hold 250 with clean smoke, rub, cook. Wrap em in foil with some brown sugar and butter for the finish. I got this!"
I may not have said that out loud, but that was definitely my mind set. It went to the point that I didn't even research this cook or even the cut itself at all beforehand. I did, however, send Mikey my 30-second overview to which he agreed.
So I bought the rack, I set up my kettle, and I was ready to relax and let the ribs cook. It wasn't even until I put the rack on the kettle and sent Mikey a pic that I realized I might have ventured off into the deep end. To be fair, I walk into the world of BBQ with truly limited experience not only in cooking but even eating. I don't even know that I have had spare ribs before. Yet when it was laid out on the kettle it seemed to be a massive amount of meat.
Mikey's response was simple "Yeah, I typically cut them St. Louis style before I cook."
Okay, I will admit I was pissed at my mentor for not telling me that before they hit the grill. I mean he was supposed to be training me right? Yet looking back, I own that. I should have known that. I should have researched that. Thankfully he also told me not to worry as the cook is the same.
Okay great, I can still do this even if I got a whole piece of meat I am not sure what to do with. Then I realized my second hurdle...knowing when it is done, or more importantly when to wrap it. Now I play the helpless card with Mikey praying he will give me some direction. I asked him what temp I should wrap at etc. Back to his old Mr. Miyagi ways, he offers no help but to tell me to cook by feel.
Seriously?!? Cook by feel? That might work for someone who knows what they are cooking, but for me, no way.
So here is what I did. I did a little quick research. I got some temps and I just continued the cook. I figured since I have all that extra meat, I can easily use my temperature probe which would be a little more difficult had I been cooking baby backs.
The cook went well according to plan B. I got them up to some temp, I think it was like 175. I wrapped it up in brown sugar and butter and continued. I left the temp probe in the wrap. When it hit 190 I called it a cook and let it rest.
Now for eating it. The reality is I have nothing to compare it too. It tasted good. Did it taste like really good spare ribs compared to good spare ribs, I have no clue. I will say me and my family enjoyed it. My gut says I could have cooked a bit longer the middle ribs were not nearly as done as the outside ribs. So personally I preferred the outside ones. Honestly, it was very good. I think I prefer baby backs...then again, maybe if I cooked them differently that might not be the case.
In the end, none of it really matters. I mean my family and I enjoyed them. That is all I should be concerned with. To that point, this cook was a success. The other side of me though, approaches BBQ as a learning experience so my personal bar is set a bit higher.
Now if I am gonna cook a pork shoulder, I have confidence. But if I am going to sail on uncharted seas, I best prepare for anything. Part of the preparation is knowing what it is that I am cooking. Can I cook anything? Absolutely! Can I cook anything by opening a High Life and tossing it on the kettle? Not a chance in hell!
Until next post, remember kids.....CHUNKS not chips!